(Chapters 38-40)


Christ knew "the baptism of John, whence it was."(20) Then why did He ask them, as if He knew not? He knew that the Pharisees would not give Him an answer; then why did He ask in vain? Was it that He might judge them out of their own mouth, or their own heart? Suppose you refer these points to an excuse of the Creator, or to His comparison with Christ; then consider what would have happened if the Pharisees had replied to His question. Suppose their answer to have been, that John's baptism was "of men," they would have been immediately stoned to death.(21) Some Marcion, in rivalry to Marcion, would have stood up(22) and said: O most excellent God; how different are his ways from the Creator's! Knowing that men would rush down headlong over it, He placed them actually(1) on the very precipice. For thus do men treat of the Creator respecting His law of the tree.(2) But John's baptism was "from heaven." "Why, therefore," asks Christ, "did ye not believe him?"(3) He therefore who had wished men to believe John, purposing to censure(4) them because they had not believed him, belonged to Him whose sacrament John was administering. But, at any rate,(5) when He actually met their refusal to say what they thought, with such reprisals as, "Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things,"(6) He returned evil for evil!

''Render unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's."(7) What will be "the things which are God's?" Such things as are like Caesar's denarius--that is to say, His image and similitude. That, therefore, which he commands to be "rendered unto God," the Creator, is man, who has been stamped with His image, likeness, name, and substance.(8) Let Marcion's god look after his own mint.(9) Christ bids the denarius of man's imprint to be rendered to His Caesar, (His Caesar I say,) not the Caesar of a strange god.(10) The truth, however, must be confessed, this god has not a denarius to call his own! In every question the just and proper rule is, that the meaning of the answer ought to be adapted to the proposed inquiry. But it is nothing short of madness to return an answer altogether different from the question submitted to you. God forbid, then, that we should expect from Christ(11) conduct which would be unfit even to an ordinary man!

The Sadducees, who said there was no resurrection, in a discussion on that subject, had proposed to the Lord a case of law touching a certain woman, who, in accordance with the legal prescription, had been married to seven brothers who had died one after the other. The question therefore was, to which husband must she be reckoned to belong in the resurrection?(12) This, (observe,) was the gist of the inquiry, this was the sum and substance of the dispute. And to it Christ was obliged to return a direct answer. He had nobody to fear; that it should seem advisable(13) for Him either to evade their questions, or to make them the occasion of indirectly mooring(14) a subject which He was not in the habit of teaching publicly at any other time. He therefore gave His answer, that "the children of this world marry."(15) You see how pertinent it was to the case in point. Because the question concerned the next world, and He was going to declare that no one marries there, He opens the way by laying down the principles that here, where there is death, there is also marriage. "But they whom God shall account worthy of the possession of that world and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; forasmuch as they cannot die any more, since they become equal to the angels, being made the children of God and of the resurrection."(16) If, then, the meaning of the answer must not turn on any other point than on the proposed question, and since the question proposed is fully understood from this sense of the answer,(17) then the Lord's reply admits of no other interpretation than that by which the question is clearly understood.(18) You have both the time in which marriage is permitted, and the time in which it is said to be unsuitable, laid before you, not on their own account, but in consequence of an inquiry about the resurrection. You have likewise a confirmation of the resurrection itself, and the whole question which the Sadducees mooted, who asked no question about another god, nor inquired about the proper law of marriage. Now, if you make Christ answer questions which were not submitted to Him, you, in fact, represent Him as having been unable to solve the points on which He was really consulted, and entrapped of course by the cunning of the Sadducees. I shall now proceed, by way of supererogation,(19) and after the rule (I have laid down about questions and answers),(20) to deal with the arguments which have any consistency in them.

(21) They procured then a copy of the Scripture, and made short work with its text, by reading it thus:(22) "Those whom the god of that world shall account worthy." They add the phrase "of that world" to the word "god," whereby they make another god"the god of that world;" whereas the passage ought to be read thus: "Those whom God shall account worthy of the possession of that world" (removing the distinguishing phrase "of this world" to the end of the clause,(1) in other words, "Those whom God shall account worthy of obtaining and rising to that world." For the question submitted to Christ had nothing to do with the god, but only with the state, of that world. It was: "Whose wife should this woman be in that world after the resurrection?"(2) They thus subvert His answer respecting the essential question of marriage, and apply His words, "The children of this world marry and are given in marriage," as if they referred to the Creator's men, and His permission to them to marry; whilst they themselves whom the god of that world--that is, the rival god--accounted worthy of the resurrection, do not marry even here, because they are not children of this world. But the fact is, that, having been consulted about marriage in that world, not in this present one, He had simply declared the non-existence of that to which the question related. They, indeed, who had caught the very force of His voice, and pronunciation, and expression, discovered no other sense than what had reference to the matter of the question. Accordingly, the Scribes exclaimed, "Master, Thou hast well said."(3) For He had affirmed the resurrection, by describing the form(4) thereof in opposition to the opinion of the Sadducees. Now, He did not reject the attestation of those who had assumed His answer to bear this meaning.

If, however, the Scribes thought Christ was David's Son, whereas (David) himself calls Him Lord,(5) what relation has this to Christ? David did not literally confute(6) an error of the Scribes, yet David asserted the honour of Christ, when he more prominently affirmed that He was his Lord than his Son,--an attribute which was hardly suitable to the destroyer of the Creator. But how consistent is the interpretation on our side of the question! For He, who had been a little while ago invoked by the blind man as "the Son of David,"(7) then made no remark on the subject, not having the Scribes in His presence; whereas He now purposely moots the point before them, and that of His own accord,(8) in order that He might show Himself whom the Mind man, following the doctrine of the Scribes, had simply declared to be the Son of David, to be also his Lord. He thus honoured the blind man's faith which had acknowledged His Sonship to David; but at the same time He struck a blow at the tradition of the Scribes, which prevented them from knowing that He was also (David's) Lord. Whatever had relation to the glory of the Creator's Christ, no other would thus guard and maintain(9) but Himself the Creator's Christ.


As touching the propriety of His names, it has already been seen(10) that both of them"(11) are suitable to Him who was the first both to announce His Christ to mankind, and to give Him the further name (12) of Jesus. The impudence, therefore, of Marcion's Christ will be evident, when he says that many will come in his name, whereas this name does not at all belong to him, since he is not the Christ and Jesus of the Creator, to whom these names do properly appertain; and more especially when he prohibits those to be received whose very equal in imposture he is, inasmuch as he (equally with them(13) ) comes in a name which belongs to another--unless it was his business to warn off from a mendaciously assumed name the disciples (of One) who, by reason of His name being properly given to Him, possessed also the verity thereof. But when "they shall by and by come and say, I am Christ,"(14) they will be received by you, who have already received one altogether like them.(15) Christ, however, comes in His own name. What will you do, then, when He Himself comes who is the very Proprietor of these names, the Creator's Christ and Jesus? Will you reject Him? But how iniquitous, how unjust and disrespectful to the good God, that you should not receive Him who comes in His own name, when you have received another in His name!

Now, let us see what are the signs which He ascribes to the times. "Wars," I observe, "and kingdom against kingdom, and nation against nation, and pestilence, and famines, and earthquakes, and fearful sights, and great signs from heaven"(1)--all which things are suitable for a severe and terrible God. Now, when He goes on to say that "all these things must needs come to pass,"(2) what does He represent Himself to be? The Destroyer, or the Defender of the Creator? For He affirms thai these appointments of His must fully come to pass; but surely as the good God, He would have frustrated rather than advanced events so sad and terrible, if they had not been His own (decrees). "But before all these," He foretells that persecutions and sufferings were to come upon them, which indeed were "to turn for a testimony to them," and for their salvation.(3) Hear what is predicted in Zechariah: "The Lord of hosts(4) shall protect them; and they shall devour them, and subdue them with sling-stones; and they shall drink their blood like wine, and they shall fill the bowls as it were of the altar. And the Lord shall save them in that day, even His people, like sheep; because as sacred stones they roll,"(5) etc. And that you may not suppose that these predictions refer to such sufferings as await them from so many wars with strangers,(6) consider the nature (of the sufferings). In a prophecy of wars which were to be waged with legitimate arms, no one would think of enumerating stones as weapons, which are better known in popular crowds and unarmed tumults. Nobody measures the copious streams of blood which flow in war by bowlfuls, nor limits it to what is shed upon a single altar. No one gives the name of sheep to those who fall in battle with arms in hand, and while repelling force with force, but only to those who are slain, yielding themselves up in their own place of duty and with patience, rather than fighting in self-defence. In short, as he says, "they roll as sacred stones," and not like soldiers fight. Stones are they, even foundation stones, upon which we are ourselves edified--"built," as St.Paul says, "upon the foundation of the apostles,"(7) who, like "consecrated stones," were rolled up and down exposed to the attack of all men.

And therefore in this passage He forbids men "to meditate before what they answer" when brought before tribunals,(8) even as once He suggested to Balaam the message which he had not thought of,(9) nay, contrary to what he had thought; and promised "a mouth" to Moses, when he pleaded in excuse the slowness of his speech,(10) and that wisdom which, by Isaiah, He showed to be irresistible: "One shall say, I am the Lord's, and shall call himself by the name of Jacob, and another shall subscribe himself by the name of lsrael."(11) Now, what plea is wiser and more irresistible than the simple and open"(12) confession made in a martyr's cause, who "prevails with God"--which is what "Israel" means?(13) Now, one cannot wonder that He forbade "premeditation," who actually Himself received from the Father the ability of uttering words in season: "The Lord hath given to me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season (to him that is weary);"(14) except that Marcion introduces to us a Christ who is not subject to the Father. That persecutions from one's nearest friends are predicted, and calumny out of hatred to His name,(15) I need not again refer to. But "by patience,"(16) says He, "ye shall yourselves be saved."(17) Of this very patience the Psalm says, "The patient endurance of the just shall not perish for ever;"(18) because it is said in another Psalm, "Precious (in the sight of the Lord) is the death of the just"--arising, no doubt, out of their patient endurance, so that Zechariah declares: "A crown shall be to them that endure."(19) But that you may not boldly contend that it was as announcers of another god that the apostles were persecuted by the Jews, remember that even the prophets suffered the same treatment of the Jews, and that they were not the heralds of any other god than the Creator. Then, having shown what was to be the period of the destruction, even "when Jerusalem shouldbegin to be compassed with armies,"(1) He described the signs of the end of all things: "portents in the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity--like the sea roaring--by reason of their expectation of the evils which are coming on the earth."(2) That "the very powers also of heaven have to be shaken,"(3) you may find in Joel: "And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth--blood and fire, and pillars of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come."(4) In Habakkuk also you have this statement: "With rivers shall the earth be cleaved; the nations shall see thee, and be m pangs. Thou shalt disperse the waters with thy step; the deep uttered its voice; the height of its fear was raised;(5) the sun and the moon stood still in their course; into light shall thy coruscations go; and thy shield shall be (like) the glittering of the lightning's flash; in thine anger thou shalt grind the earth, and shalt thresh the nations in thy wrath."(6)

There is thus an agreement, I apprehend, between the sayings of the Lord and of the prophets touching the shaking of the earth, and the elements, and the nations thereof. But what does the Lord say afterwards? "And then shall they see the Son of man coming from the heavens with very great power. And when these things shall come to pass, ye shall look up, and raise your heads; for your redemption hath come near," that is, at the time of the kingdom, of which the parable itself treats.(7) "So likewise ye, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand."(8) This will be the great day of the Lord, and of the glorious coming of the Son of man from heaven, of which Daniel wrote: "Behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven,"(9) etc. "And there was given unto Him the kingly power," (10) which (in the parable) "He went away into a far country to receive for Himself," leaving money to His servants wherewithal to trade and get increase(11)--even (that universal kingdom of) all nations, which in the Psalm the Father had promised to give to Him: Ask of me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance."(12) "And all that glory shall serve Him; His dominion shall be an everlasting one, which shall not be taker from Him, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed,"(13) because in it "men shall not die, neither shall they marry, but be like the angels."(14) It is about the same advent of the Son of man and the benefits thereof that we read in Habakkuk: "Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people, even to save Thine anointed ones,(15)--in other words, those who shall look up and lift their heads, being redeemed in the time of His kingdom. Since, therefore, these descriptions of the promises, on the one hand, agree together, as do also those of the great catastrophes, on the other--both in the predictions of the prophets and the declarations of the Lord, it will be impossible for you to interpose any distinction between them, as if the catastrophes could be referred to the Creator, as the terrible God, being such as the good god (of Marcion) ought not to permit, much less expect --whilst the promises should be ascribed to the good god, being such as the Creator, in His ignorance of the said god, could not have predicted. If, however, He did predict these promises as His own, since they differ in no respect from the promises of Christ, He will be a match in the freeness of His gifts with the good god himself; and evidently no more will have been promised by your Christ than by my Son of man.

(If you examine) the whole passage of this Gospel Scripture, from the inquiry of the disciples(16) down to the parable of the fig-tree(17) you will find the sense in its connection suit in every point the Son of man, so that it consistently ascribes to Him both the sorrows and the joys, and the catastrophes and the promises; nor can you separate them from Him in either respect. For asmuch, then, as there is but one Son of man whose advent is placed between the two issues of catastrophe and promise, it must needs follow that to that one Son of man belong both the judgments upon the nations, and the prayers of the saints. He who thus comes in midway so as to be common to both issues, will terminate one of them by inflicting judgment on the nations at His coming; and will at the same time commence the other by fulfilling the prayers of His saints: so that if (on the one hand) you grant that the coming of the Son of man is (the advent) of my Christ, then, when you ascribe to Him the infliction of the judgments which precede His appearance, you are compelled also to assign to Him the blessings which issue from the same. If (on the other hand) you will have it that it is the coming of your Christ, then, when you ascribe to him the blessings which are to be the result of his advent, you are obliged to impute to him likewise the infliction of the evils which precede his appearance. For the evils which precede, and the blessings which immediately follow, the coming of the Son of man, are both alike indissolubly connected with that event. Consider, therefore, which of the two Christs you choose to place in the person of the Son of man, to whom you may refer the execution of the two dispensations. You make either the Creator a most beneficent God, or else your own god terrible in his nature! Reflect, in short, on the picture presented in the parable: "Behold the fig-tree, and all the trees; when they produce their fruit, men know that summer is at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is very near."(1) Now, if the fructification of the common trees(2) be an antecedent sign of the approach of summer, so in like manner do the great conflicts of the world indicate the arrival of that kingdom which they precede. But every sign is His, to whom belong the thing of which it is the sign; and to everything is appointed its sign by Him to whom the thing belongs. If, therefore, these tribulations are the signs of the kingdom, just as the maturity of the trees is of the summer, it follows that the kingdom is the Creator's to whom are ascribed the tribulations which are the signs of the kingdom. Since the beneficent Deity had premised that these things must needs come to pass, although so terrible and dreadful, as they had been predicted by the law and the prophets, therefore He did not destroy the law and the prophets, when He affirmed that what had been foretold therein must be certainly fulfilled. He further declares, "that heaven and earth shall not pass away till all things be fulfilled."(3) What things, pray, are these? Are they the things which the Creator made? Then the elements will tractably endure the accomplishment of their Maker's dispensation. If, however, they emanate from your excellent god, I much doubt whether(4) the heaven and earth will peaceabIy allow the completion of things which their Creator's enemy has determined! If the Creator quietly submits to this, then He is no "jealous God." But let heaven and earth pass away, since their Lord has so determined; only let His word remain for evermore! And so Isaiah predicted that it should. (5) Let the disciples also be warned, "lest their hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this world; and so that day come upon them unawares, like a snare "(6)--if indeed they should forget God amidst the abundance and occupation of the world. Like this will be found the admonition of Moses,--so that He who delivers from "the snare" of that day is none other than He who so long before addressed to men the same admonition? Some places there were in Jerusalem where to teach; other places outside Jerusalem whither to retire(8)--"in the day-time He was teaching in the temple;" just as He had foretold by Hosea: "In my house did they find me, and there did I speak with them."(9) "But at night He went out to the Mount of Olives." For thus had Zechariah pointed out: "And His feet shall stand in that day on the Mount of Olives."(10) Fit hours for an audience there also were. "Early in the morning"(11) must they resort to Him, who (having said by Isaiah, "The Lord giveth me the tongue of the learned") added, "He hath appointed me the morning, and hath also given me an ear to hear."(12) Now if this is to destroy the prophets,(13) what will it be to fulfil them?


In like manner does He also know the very time it behoved Him to suffer, since the law prefigures His passion. Accordingly, of all the festal days of the Jews He chose the passover.(14) In this Moses had declared that there was a sacred mystery:(15) "It is the Lord's passover." (16) How earnestly, therefore, does He manifest the bent of His soul: "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer."(17) What a destroyer of the law was this, who actually longed to keep its passover! Could it be that He was so fond of Jewish lamb?(1) But was it not because He had to be "led like a lamb to the slaughter; and because, as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so was He not to open His mouth,"(2) that He so profoundly wished to accomplish the symbol of His own redeeming blood? He might also have been betrayed by any stranger, did I not find that even here too He fulfilled a Psalm: "He who did eat bread with me hath lifted up(3) his heel against me."(4) And without a price might He have been betrayed. For what need of a traitor was there in the case of one who offered Himself to the people openly, and might quite as easily have been captured by force as taken by treachery? This might no doubt have been well enough for another Christ, but would not have been suitable in One who was accomplishing prophecies. For it was written, "The righteous one did they sell for silver."(5) The very amount and the destination(6) of the money, which on Judas' remorse was recalled from its first purpose of a fee,(7) and appropriated to the purchase of a potter's field, as narrated in the Gospel of Matthew, were clearly foretold by Jeremiah:(8) "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of Him who was valued? and gave them for the potter's field." When He so earnestly expressed His desire to eat the passover, He considered it His own feast; for it would have been unworthy of God to desire to partake of what was not His own. Then, having taken the bread and given it to His disciples, He made it His own body, by saying, "This is my body,"(10) that is, the figure of my body. A figure, however, there could not have been, unless there were first a veritable body.(11) An empty thing, or phantom, is incapable of a figure. If, however, (as Marcion might say,) He pretended the bread was His body, because He lacked the truth of bodily substance, it follows that He must have given bread for us. It would contribute very well to the support of Marcion's theory of a phantom body,(12) that bread should have been crucified! But why call His body bread, and not rather (some other edible thing, say) a melon,(13) which Marcion must have had in lieu of a heart! He did not understand how ancient was this figure of the body of Christ, who said Himself by Jeremiah: "I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter, and I knew not that(14) they devised a device against me, saying, Let us cast the tree upon His bread,"(15) which means, of course, the cross upon His body. And thus, casting light, as He always did, upon the ancient prophecies,(16) He declared plainly enough what He meant by the bread, when He called the bread His own body. He likewise, when mentioning the cup and making the new testament to be sealed "in His blood,"(17) affirms the reality of His body. For no blood can belong to a body which is not a body of flesh. If any sort of body were presented to our view, which is not one of flesh, not being fleshly, it would not possess blood. Thus, from the evidence of the flesh, we get a proof of the body, and a proof of the flesh from the evidence of the blood. In order, however, that you may discover how anciently wine is used as a figure for blood, turn to Isaiah, who asks, "Who is this that cometh from Edom, from Bosor with garments dyed in red, so glorious in His apparel, in the greatness of his might? Why are thy garments red, and thy raiment as his who cometh from the treading of the full winepress?"(18) The prophetic Spirit contemplates the Lord as if He were already on His way to His passion, clad in His fleshly nature; and as He was to suffer therein, He represents the bleeding condition of His flesh under the metaphor of garments dyed in red, as if reddened in the treading and crushing process of the wine-press, from which the labourers descend reddened with the wine-juice, like men stained in blood. Much more clearly still does the book of Genesis foretell this, when (in the blessing of Judah, out of whose tribe Christ was to come according to the flesh) it even then delineated Christ in the person of that patriarch,(1) saying, "He washed His garments in wine, and His clothes in the blood of grapes"(2)--in His garments and clothes the prophecy pointed out his flesh, and His blood in the wine. Thus did He now consecrate His blood in wine, who then (by the patriarch) used the figure of wine to describe His blood.